I thought about giving this post the title, “Three years of blogging: Have I learned anything yet?” Sometimes it certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve learned anything. But then I remember that three years ago I knew absolutely nothing about blogging, so, I guess, I have come a long way.
Don’t believe me? Have a look back to my first post. It was a warmish January day and my self-diagnosed ADHD was in overdrive, so I decided to paint my front doors. I’ve always been a fan of impulsive home improvement projects, but for some reason I decided I should share this one with the world.
I had thought about starting a blog — well not really — but I thought I should start a blog. The main reason??? Because I LOVE to talk about my crazy DIY projects. Neighbors would walk by and I’d pull them inside and show them all the projects I was in the middle of. It was exhausting! lol I figured it would be a lot more efficient to write my stories down once and let people read them if they felt like it.
My blog pretty much serves the same purpose three years later. Although it has taken a few fun turns along the way. One of the (many) things I’ve learned during this 3-year hobby of mine, is that you can’t blog alone. Blogging friends are a must! I think it’s a fact that bloggers read more blogs than “regular” people do, so if I want anyone to read this blog of mine I had to find some blogging friends. Not really the reason, but since this summer when I went to my first blogging conference, I’ve met TONS of blogging friends and let me just tell you… it makes a world of difference.
I’ve actually teamed up with a group of bloggers for a new series called Behind the Blog: A Behind the Scenes Look at Your Favorite Blogs.
This month we’re talking about blog beginnings, hence my ramblings about my front door. I had done a little research on how to start a blog, so I went right to Blogger and set up http://smartgirlsdiy.blogspot.com. If you don’t know, Blogger is a way to blog for free. It was great, because I could just start writing and not worry so much about all the logistics that were involved. But if you want to start a blog, I don’t recommend it.
If I were to do it all over again, I would start with WordPress from the get to. Ten months after starting Smart Girls DIY, I migrated it to a self hosted WordPress site. I am cheap. I don’t like to pay people to do things for me. I like to figure them out myself. This was no different.
I had already registered the domain www.smartgirlsdiy.com even before I started my Blogger page. I never would have chosen the name Smart Girls DIY if the domain was not available. That much I knew from setting up a website for my now defunct home organizing business. (Although I made so much more money organizing than I do blogging, in case you were wondering.) Anyway, I already had a GoDaddy account, so I used them to host my new blog as well.
The WordPress thing was super scary. It was total fear of the unknown. There was certainly a steep learning curve, and many a night that I went to bed at 4am, but I have come so far. My first blog template was the Modern Blogger Pro theme from Pretty Darn Cute Designs. It came with pretty awesome directions and I was able to set it up myself and transfer over all my old blogspot posts. You can tell which ones are the “old” posts because the pictures are much smaller, and generally crappier, except my pictures still aren’t great.
I have gone back and updated the pictures to some of those older posts, especially the more popular ones, like this one about my Laundry Room Makeover. It was a doozey!
The first post I wrote in WordPress was about our family trip to Washington DC. It took forever because I was also learning Photoshop at the same time as trying to learn WordPress. Ugh. I now use PicMonkey for quick edits and save Photoshop only for the harder stuff.
I used to write more about vacations. Maybe we used to take more vacations. Nova Scotia was awesome. Smart Jr’s summer at Camp Mosey Wood, a Girl Scout camp in the Poconos. Last summer in Ocean Grove, NJ. You get the idea.
I switched WordPress themes at some point and I now use Daily Dish Pro from Studio Press. The thing I am most proud of is how I customized it myself. I’m not saying I haven’t crashed my website along the way, but ultimately I’ve been able to make the adjustments I’ve wanted. I have to celebrate the accomplishments because I feel like I’ve messed so many things up along the way.
My biggest blogging mistake? Not being consistent. As soon as I start treating blogging like a business, it isn’t fun for me anymore. So I don’t always write. I also don’t always finish my home improvement projects in a timely manner. Hello, it’s been more than 9 months since I wrote this kitchen post about demoing my kitchen. The kitchen still isn’t finished. Nope. And I’m stuck between feeling like a loser, because I haven’t finished it, or feeling like I don’t have time to write about it because I should actually be working on it. Whatever. It will get done eventually.
Today I’m going to take a little break and have a nice morning reading about how all my new friends got their start in blogging. You should check them out too!
Smart Girls DIY // Three Years of Blogging How Did it All Begin?